An Environmental History of Fire Island

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Fire Island Past, Present, and FutureRobert Sayre, a retired English professor at the University of Iowa, has spent nearly every summer on Fire Island since 1934. Drawing on his deep interest in Fire Island environmental history Sayre has written Fire Island, Past, Present, and Future: The Environmental History of a Barrier Beach (Oystercatcher Books, 2013).

Syre’s book, which began as an exhibit at the Point O’ Woods Historical Society in 2007 is a concise and readable environmental history of Fire Island from its post-glacial origins to its human uses and its prospects in the age of global warming.

GluckaufSyre’s knowledge of Fire Island ecology and history come together with a large collection of photos, maps and diagrams to describe the human impact on the island over the last 200 years. Syre also offers his thoughts on the Islands recent past, including Hurricane Sandy, and vision of the future.

The book (10×8, 84 pp, maps, photos, and drawings) can be purchased through Oystercatcher Books.

You can order it online at:

Or via mail at:

Oystercatcher Books, 416 Hutchinson Ave., Iowa City IA 52246 (phone 319 338-1428) for $24.95, + $3.00 for shipping.

Email for more information.

Note: Books noticed on The New York History Blog have been provided by the publishers.

Photo below: The German tanker Glückauf stranded in March 1893 in heavy fog at Blue Point Beach at Fire Island. It was the first ship in which oil could be pumped directly into the vessel hull instead of being loaded in barrels or drums.

4 thoughts on “An Environmental History of Fire Island

  1. Barbara L. Collins

    I would like to purchase Robert Sayre’s book, Fire Island, past present and future. How do I go about it?
    Thank you

  2. Tim Kelvas

    I’m interested in purchasing the following book
    “Fire Island past, present, and Future”
    Please get back to me


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